20,000 Words or Less

While on vacation, I spoke with the organizer of some anthologies. I have certain ones I always look at and then try to determine if I have time and energy to come up with something. This organizer posted her 2024 anthology topics and I can’t think that far in advance. So I found her 2023 and 2022 lists. For 2022 she has a Halloween anthology and in my head pops – oh, I could do the next Paranormal Investigators story.

Oh my head gets me in trouble sometimes. I reached out and asked if she still had rooms. She said yes. I said – hold don’t add me yet. My fear was I’d sit down to write and zero would come to me. I didn’t want to let her down. So I started writing – as I’ve said previously.

Tonight I was doing research and getting distracted but I sat down to write. I thought… not sure this is going well but I did a map of locations and more came to me. Then I researched a location which sidetracked me. But eventually I got down to writing. I brought in characters from the first story. I love the scene at the sister’s home.

However, I knew I had to get into another ghost scene and I had NO idea whatsoever of what I wanted to do. I literally have the characters standing backstage and no clue what to do next. I could almost hear Harper (my main female character) sighing about the delays.

Now I’m done for the night – it’s late and I have to work tomorrow. But I’ve managed to write 2111 words tonight and my story is now around 6800 words. I can have 20K so I’m not worried at this point but I still have several ghosts and locations to get to before I land on the finale.

Progress is good but I have a deadline of September 2. It needs to be written, edited and ready for the organizer. My day job gets busy (or in my case busier) at the end of August so I need to stay on top of this one. Lets not forget I have book releasing this month too. Solana comes out on August 20 so I need to prep for that as well. I’m trying not to think about this too much – I just need to write for now.

writing text, random text, text, paper, notebook, pen.

Summer Vacation Part 3

Yesterday I worked on getting Solana into blogs. Having different bloggers post about my books helps different people see my book. It also means I have to write something to go with. It might be a character interview or to answer specific questions. These take time to write so I got several done.

Then I worked on getting my books set up in Asana. Now I use this to schedule the different tasks I need to accomplish between now and the release date like editing steps, ordering graphics (or creating them) and marketing steps. I had seven books to set up. The nice thing is I lumped a number of those tasks on the same day despite the later release dates.

It makes it easier to do all the books at once like researching keywords rather than scattering those tasks over multiple days for the next year. This means I need to look at my calendar so I keep track of what’s on the agenda.

I planned to write last night but I had people around me until late. I read a book instead. I was up until about 1 am and enjoyed getting lost in the story. When it was done, I wanted to keep reading but of course the book was done.

My daughter has started making fruit smoothies in the morning. We’ve had a mix of cherries, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, banana. This is how we’ve been starting our day and it’s delicious and filling. We will probably put the fruits we need for smoothies into one freezer bag so we can grab and make very easily.

Today is a lot of meetings for me. I do an author talk in my Facebook and then a group of authors get together and chat about writing stuff after that. In between today, I need to peel and halve peaches so they can go in the freezer.

After dinner, I plan to send people off to their own spaces so I can write. Yesterday while having a conversation with someone I came up with a plot for the short story I am working on. It all just fell into place. I have an idea of what I want to write and how to solve the issues. It just clicked which is heavenly!

Writing sample created using the Mechanical substitute for the arms, United Kingdom, 1919 (writing sample)

More on Summer Vacation!

Four manuscripts later, I’ve started a short story I wasn’t planning on writing this year. I saw an anthology which this story will fit into nicely. I talked to the organizer and if I can get it written in under a month I’ll be able to join the anthology.

Last night I worked on the short story and got almost 1200 words written. It was an odd day for me yesterday. I had lots of distractions for finishing the fourth manuscript I was editing. Also I found places to add in things my beta readers wanted. I’m pleased with the results and hope my beta readers will be as well.

Last night I also started some client work. This is on my schedule for today. My plan – very loose and adjustable plan – is to switch off from writing to editing as I get tired of one or the other. With any luck (and hopefully few interruptions) I can make a dent in both of these projects.

person holding white printer paper

What I did on Summer Vacation

Summer is supposed to be quiet for work. Not this year. Training, hiring, and procedures have been dominate in my day job. It’s been busy – very busy.

It’s been so busy finding time to take vacation has not been easy. However, I’m on vacation from the day job! I’ve got a full week off and I’m filling it with what I want to do.

Now some people think I schedule my life too much… sometimes I do. But for this week I haven’t.

Saturday and Sunday were normal weekend days. We did chores, ran errands, and I worked on writing stuff. I did my author talk and then met with a group of authors to talk about writing and life. I also worked my way through final edits for two manuscripts. They got sent off to my formatter.

Monday I worked on another manuscript – my longest of this batch. In my process I go through a lot of steps for editing and one of the final ones is to do a paper edit. I know this sounds weird to some people with all our technology. I actually print out a copy of the manuscript and edit on paper.

When I’m done with the edit, I turn it over to my sister who goes through it to enter the edits I’ve done. She also reads it again for me and adds anything she catches. She emails it back for me. I go through it to make sure the edits are correct (sometimes I wonder where my head was). Then I do an edit check and read through.

Today I tackled the last of the four manuscripts. I’ve added the author’s note and the acknowledgement and will send it off to my formatter so she can do the formatting for me.

One of the stories I sent to one of my beta readers. She and I talked through some of the story and there were some pretty serious rewrites done on it. Since I did that one yesterday, I’ve let it sit today. Tomorrow I’ll probably read through it but my beta reader said she’d try to read it this weekend so I might hold off.

Next step – well in doing my edits, I’ve culled some good quotes to add to graphics for posting. I’ll work on those. I also need to set up all seven stories (the three Dragon Descendant short stories in addition to the four manuscripts) in Asana which is my project management software. That will be time consuming but worth it as it keeps me on track when I’m doing other things like writing.

My hope is tomorrow I’ll work on client editing work and then tackle some writing. We’ll see. I’m not rushing things. I’m enjoying my days of leisurely working on books. Oh and because I like numbers I’ve edited 264,637 words in the last four days. Not quite done but happy with my progress. I still have plenty of days left in my week and I’m looking forward to seeing where my muse and tasks will take me.

I have options – oh so many of them – so I’m not picking tonight. I’m enjoying the accomplishments of my leisure time.

A Stone’s Throw

On May 21, I’ll release my new poetry book. This book has been in my work in process pile for quite some time. When I organized recently, I asked myself why I hadn’t published it. Initially I organized it for a contest. But it didn’t win or place.

This meant it’s just been sitting in my files waiting for attention. I asked my middle daughter to create a cover and handed the manuscript over to her. She did a beautiful job formatting it.

Here’s the blurb and cover of my new poetry book. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Ever thrown a stone into a lake and watched the ripples?  These poems explore the ripples of emotions caused by moments in life. This is a journey of battling societies expectations and beliefs while finding strength and power within. 

Universal link

Homonyms

I know you’re groaning because I’m using grammatical terms. We know what this is – it’s words that sounds the same but have different meanings.

Are you saying Huh? I hope not but if you are…

Question Mark On Colorful Paper

Here’s a few examples

You’re / Your

Its / It’s

There / They’re / Their

Now I can tell you when I write, these mess with me all the time. So I’m doing what I do best – writing about them. Doesn’t mean I’ll mess up less but I’ll at least share with others.

There are so many of these I cannot even begin to tell you them all. The three above are commonly done incorrectly as are many many more.

In the Wayfarer series for some reason I could not come up with console – meaning a scientific instrument consisting of displays and an input device. I came up with council, counsel and I’m sure there were other iterations. But not console. I knew what I wanted and I was pretty sure of the word but the correct spelling eluded me.

Now when I’m tooling along writing, I don’t always type the write word. I just get it down. I want to get the words on the page and get it out of my head.

How do I as an author fix this?

My first go to is spell check. I work in Word and the Editor they are now using gets its/it’s wrong all the time. It’s like it’s drunk. So you have to know your spell checker.

Read through. I do a read through of all my manuscripts as well as using the Editor / spell check.

If that doesn’t catch them, my beta and arc team will let me know if something is off.

Readers will also let an author know when something is wrong – my only hope is they let me know before they leave a review so I can correct it.

New Crochet Patterns

When you have beautiful fluffy yarn, you have to make something equally beautiful. Both patterns can be made up in under 12 hours. They are made with super bulky yarn and provide a challenge in different ways.

Rainbow Panels

A mix of patterns creates a lovely texture for this afghan. Made with super bulky yarn, it works up fast and easy. This warm throw will be a great gift or warm coxy blanket to cuddle under.

Creme de Mint

Crème de Mint Afghan is made with super bulky yarn which takes a few hours to create. The soft tones of cream and mint allow it to fit in with most décor. The pattern has a two row repeat which allows the crocheter to fall into a rhythm while working the pattern. The afghan shown is worked in a two row color repeat which means you’re changing colors every other row. Making this with one color would be just as beautiful while eliminating the need to change colors.

Rocket book

I’ve had old eyes for my whole life. My eyesight changed drastically when I turned 40. It’s been an adjustment needing reading glasses. I went to my eye doctor and we discussed a few issues I’ve been having – weeping eyes and blurry vision.

Click on picture to go to Amazon

I told him – I’m on the computer from eight to four for my day job and then I come home and I’m on the computer from six to midnight. He told me my blurry vision and watery (weeping) eyes are from overuse on the computer. I did add the blue tint to my glasses which helps. But still more help in other forms was needed.

Now the day job, I can’t change those hours. It’s my job. So the six to midnight had to come under scrutiny. How can I reduce my time on the computer and still write? Well I could write my stories by hand. NOT FUN. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the act of writing. I love to see my words flow from a pen to paper but it adds steps. I ultimately decided this was not an option unless I could figure out how to do it without then having to type everything up.

I tried a tablet. It worked. Sort of. I’d write and then look at what I wrote and correct it. I attempted to write a story this way and I found it frustrating to stop every sentence or so to fix what I wrote to how it was translated by the tablet.

My daughter asked if I wanted a Rocket book. I was ambivalent. I had one at work and gave it to my boss because she used hers more than I did. I hemmed and hawed and told her okay since the price is low, I’ll try it out and see if it works better than a tablet.

Ironically, the Rocket book didn’t offer transcription when we bought them so I was going to write out my scenes, scan them, send them to my computer to transcribe them. Adding steps but again – eye issues – so I was willing to try it.

Click on picture to go to product page – journal size

I got my Rocket book and thought – okay I’ll have to make time for this. I set it aside with a plan to try it over the weekend. In the meanwhile, I get an email from Rocket book saying they are introducing transcription! I’m seriously floored. Like did they do that just for me? Probably not.

So I pull out my Rocket book and follow the directions and set it up to transcribe. Now I’ve not been in the app or even downloaded the app at this point. So I set it up on my phone. I write a couple words on the page and try it out. Lo and behold – it transcribed it. You can have this go to your email or One Note.

Click picture to go to product page on Amazon – 8.5″ x 11″

This means when I’m having issues with my eyes or even if I’m traveling, running errands, or whatever, I can take my Rocket book with me and use it. I’ve got visions of how useable this will be!

My first time using it, I pulled up the story I wanted to work on using my tablet – thus avoiding the computer completely. Then I open the Rocket book (journal size at this point) and start writing.

Little camera in the bottom right allows you to start a new scan – taken in the app

Problems I had – I’m a journal writer. Because of the cost of journals (and I’m cheap) I squeeze as many words as possible into my journals. The problem with this – the closer together your words are the harder it is for the program to translate. Also I write from top to bottom and left to write squeezing in as many words as I can. So with the Rocket book I had to really stop doing this. The program couldn’t read all of the words. Okay so slight adjustment.

I have fairly neat handwriting, even with my arthritis and other hand issues. I’m right handed and write neatly / printing is even neater. I do not know how well this would work for a left handed person or someone whose writing is less neat than mine.

At first, I was frustrated because I was scanning and nothing was showing up. It annoyed me and then I realized, I didn’t have a page open in One Note. Okay so I fix that and try again. Still issues. Frustration and annoyance usually is enough for me to say – never mind and write it off. But I kept trying – new technology so I’m assuming user error.

Now I don’t know if it was user error or the tech, but I’ve gotten better at it. I have noticed the scanning needs more low light – or in my case, I have a light directly overhead so it causes shadows when I lay something flat and try to take a picture of it. So I turn off the overhead light when I do my scanning.

Click on the picture to go to product page on Amazon – clickable pens for Rocket book

Pens – I’m a pen snob. You have to use a specific pen – Pilot Frixon Ball. The pen which came with the book was nice but I hate having to pull a cap off. I like clicker pens better. I also like color. So my daughter bought me some colored pens which are clickers. They are on my list to try.

At this point, the advantages of the Rocket book to me as an author are portability, easier use in the car than even a tablet, gets me off the computer. The pen that comes with it allows you to erase. So no scratching out. Cost is another distinct advantage. Generally the cost is under $50 so makes it affordable for those on a limited budget or cost conscious buyers.

The disadvantages are it’s slower. Typing is much faster. The technology takes a bit to get used to. Hand writing is a factor – though I’ve not written overly sloppily since I’ve had it so it may figure it out. Once the page is scanned and transcribed, there is some need to adjust the words. It’s not 100%. The counter to this is – you have the original written in front of you so easy enough to figure out what it should say.

Click picture to go to the product on Amazon – notepad size

I’m counting this as a plus. When my eyes are tired or I’m out and about with lots of wait time, I can use the Rocket book to allow me to write in those moments when I’m normally playing on my phone or chomping at the bit because I want to write but I’m in my car or whatever.

Once I realized I would use this, I went looking for a different size and one with lines. My original one was a journal size with a dot grid. I wanted 8.5″x11″ with lines. I found one and bought it. My daughter also got me a note pad size (for making lists which I love).

Oh you might ask, what happens when you’ve filled the book? Well you take the little cloth they send you and get it damp – not too wet. Then you go back to your Rocket book and wipe each page. Now in doing this, I had several pages and it was difficult to figure out the best way to do it so I wiped from the spine out. This seemed the most efficient way. I also didn’t like putting wet pages next to each other. If you had any ink residue on the pages, it smeared it. So clean up is a little time consuming but still.

Here’s a spiral notebook essentially which you can use over and over and over. I’ve done some extensive writing it in. I started a new short story in it and written multiple pages. I’ve used the journal and spiral size and liked both – not done the smaller one yet. I’ve also not tried out my color pens yet. Overall I recommend these especially if you have issues with being on the computer.

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Unnecessary Words

How does a writer make their writing more dynamic? This is the question every writer wants an answer to…. at least if they want strong writing.

So let’s define the type of writing I’m talking about. I’m not talking about dialog – conversations have their own quirks and breaking the rules is acceptable if it’s purpWoseful. I’m also not talking about academic or formal writing. Fiction writing is different from all those other types of writing.

In fiction writing, we use words which aren’t needed. Are they added to pad the number of words? I think they’re added because it’s easier to write using them. Here are a few of them:

That

Often we use this in place of other words like who or which. The way to know which word to use is by looking at the clause (huh? what comes after it) it’s attached to. The bike, which is red, has a flat tire. Should which be that? It depends. If there are multiple bikes and the color defines the bike you refer to, you use ‘that’ and there would be no commas. If the color is just additional information, you use which and commas.

When it comes to who, who is used when people are involved. That can refer to people, animals, groups, or things. If people are involved you use who. Now this is English so it’s messed up – when it comes to groups you use either who or that.

There are times when you don’t need that but it’s put in because it “sounds” better. Most often the ‘that’ is not needed. Here’s two examples from Owl Purdue

Wordy: I received your inquiry that you wrote about tennis rackets yesterday, and read it thoroughly. Yes, we do have. . .

Concise: I received your inquiry about tennis rackets yesterday. Yes, we do have. . .

I’ve done a lot of editing and most authors overuse the word ‘that’. Part of the reason for it is because we use it speaking.

Passive voice vs Active voice

I know I’ve talked about this before but here’s a quick review of the topic. Passive voice slows down your pace and is an indirect way of describing something

Passive Voice

The boy was bitten by the dog

Active Voice

The dog bit the boy

In the passive voice sentence the verb includes a be verb (am is are was were are been – per Perdue Owl.

Now in an action scene passive voice slows down the action.

Passive – The boy was chased by the dog he teased.

Active – The dog chased the boy who teased him.

Overused words

Now you can google and see which words the powers that be say are overused. But slow down your reading of the book and analyze what you overuse. That is one for almost every author. But there are others.

In my early writing everything was done quickly. Apparently my characters did all their action fast. I’ve found other words and also stopped making my characters rush.

But I have a list of words I know I overuse.

How do I eradicate them? I search for each one and highlight them. When I do my read throughs, I look at each highlight and try to get rid of it – especially when there’s a paragraph full of them.

Now I never get rid of all these words – and I don’t want to. Sometimes passive voice is good, sometimes you need That or other words like it. The point is to look at these things and see if the alternate is stronger than what you have.

On the Line

This is in the #KBWorld Everyday Heroes. I got this opportunity to write in this world and was scared to death of stepping outside my comfort zone. I don’t usually write contemporary romance – though I love it.

I put it aside – though I had a year to write it. I kept saying – oh I need to write it but I have no idea how to do this. I saw her books were written in first person of which I’m not a huge fan. I asked and I didn’t have to write in first person.

I kept putting up roadblocks for myself. Then it came down to two months before it was due. I was like holy crap I need to get this written. So I started writing. First decision – Allison would be an older woman, mature and not overly interested in a new relationship since she got out of a 20 year bad marriage.

From there the story grew and I remembered why I love to write contemporary romance. Each scene fed off the previous but at one point, I wanted them to go on a date – well group date. I asked my daughters for ideas. I didn’t want them to go to dinner or out to a movie. My oldest daughter suggested a scenario and I liked it so I went with it.

When it came time to write the scene I said I need a song. Now I like music and will listen to a lot of varieties of music but within the scope of their setting, I wanted a romantic song which didn’t go over the top. This song was supposed to be a prelude to their first love scene. I got opinions from a lot of people and it came down to a couple of songs. Again I turned to my family because I love music but I’m horrible at remembering names and artists. Since my oldest picked the scene, she piped up and said, I picked the scene, go with this song. I said – okay.

One thing I haven’t talked about much is that Allison is handicapped. She was in an accident which made it hard for her to get around. Chandler from the beginning didn’t seem to notice her handicap. Then as the story went on, he saw her struggle with things like he drove a truck which was hard for her to get into. I liked the evolution of how he didn’t pay attention to her issues but then he starts to realize how it makes her life harder and he wants to make her life easier.

On the Line

On the Line is a mature, contemporary romance written in K Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes World and filled with emergencies and emotional connections.

Sunnyville offered Allison a return to a happy time in her life after leaving her cheating husband. After the drama of a car accident and the failure of her marriage, she wants nothing but peace and quiet.  With the help of her daughters, she’s settled in her new home.  She wants to do her job as a 911 operator and live a quiet life. 

When his father fell off a ladder and his mother called 911, Chandler didn’t realize how much it would impact his life. One look at Allison and he knew he had to convince her to meet his family. But her ex-husband believes she’s still his.  Is Chandler stepping over a line when he uses his computer skills to learn more about her ex? 

#kbworlds

https://geni.us/OnTheLineEH

Excerpt

“So… you’re rich,” he said. “Will you be my sugar mama?”

She laughed. “Maybe. Depends…”

“On what?” Chandler asked.

“You’re respectful. I like when you open my door. It makes me feel cared for,” she admitted.

“Good so…”

“I have more than one requirement,” she wiggled her finger at him. “You can cook. My daughters like you.”

“I like this ticking off of my good qualities,” he said.

“You have a good body which I have picture proof of, at least part of your body,” she bit her lip. Before he said anything, she continued, “But I’ve only seen part of your body and I don’t know how well you employ the more interesting parts of your body.”

“You mean my brain, right?” he asked.

“Oh no,” she said. “I promised myself a really good lover when I got rid of my husband and stole half his money.”

As she parked the car, he leaned over and murmured, “Turn the car around and I’ll show you the things I want to do to you.”

“What things?” she swallowed as she turned to him. Heat ripped through her and settled in her gut. She was certain her panties were damp and it wouldn’t take much to push her over the edge.

As their lips were about to touch, Jesse banged on the top of her car. “Come on,” he said. “Do that later. We have darts to throw.”

Chandler growled and fumed at the interruption. Allison bit her lip for a moment and then burst out laughing. “Guess we’ll have to wait awhile for me to discover whether you pass muster in those other areas.”

“I’m gonna kill my brother,” Chandler joined her in laughing.

“That will make it hard for me to discover more about certain attributes,” Allison said.

“Is there a chance of me giving you a demonstration later?” he asked.

“There’s always a possibility,” she said kissing his surprised mouth.